By Aamna Haider Isani
Day One at the PFDC Lâ€™Oreal Bridal Week was buzzing with all things bright and beautiful, from the ambience to dazzling collections, from front row fashion to backstage banter. Society turned out in full force, with Sehyr Saigol, Musharaf Hai, Mian and Naz Mansha, Aamna Taseer, Saadia Rashid, Kauser Humayun, Nabila, Zeba Hussain, Sherezad Rahimtoola and Rehana Saigol at one end and Fawad Khan, Farhad Humayun, Zara Peerzada, Meesha Shafi and a plethora of designers at the other.
â€œYou know youâ€™re in Lahore when you see fake hair and false eyelashes in abundance,â€ someone in the front row cattily commented but in all seriousness, Lahore is a beautiful city and its beauty reflects in the way men and especially women turn out to events like fashion week.
And of course, fashion week would be incomplete without the integral dose of falsity. â€œYouâ€™ve mastered the art of seamless lying,â€ I smiled at a designer who was gushing at another designer whose collection was little short of awful. But thatâ€™s the way the red carpet unravels at fashion week. Air kisses and back stabs in abundance? Sure, but thatâ€™s the fun of it until you take things too seriously.
Label: Karma Red by Maheen Kardar Ali
Collection: Shehzadi Rang Aur Samarkand Ki Rani
There comes a time in every designerâ€™s life when reinvention is essential and for Karma, it really is time to look ahead and not at the past. Maheen Kardar, who has showcased some incredibly fun and Â innovative collection really needs to inject some freshness into her label now because Karma is one of the biggest brands of the country and is capable of much more excitement.Â Key trend: The only thing that caught my eye were the printed undershirts, cholis and brassieres that elegantly covered up the briefs. But that little slip wasnâ€™t enough to save a mediocre collection at large.
Label: Ali Xeeshan
The one thing people will remember from this showcase is Mickey and Minnie Mouse. And thatâ€™s unfortunate because the collection, in all its theatrical vibrancy, was very impressive. For once Ali Xeeshanâ€™s craft was prominent in the overwhelmingly elaborate ghagras and cholis. The attention to detail was exceptional, the accessories eye-catching and for women with a taste for OTT, this was the ideal solution to standing out. The organza shrugs on several outfits, however, were an unnecessary stretch.Â Key trend: colour riot contrasted with stark white, heavy jackets.
Label: Sania Maskatiya
I would say this was Sania Maskatiyaâ€™s strongest wedding wear collection to date. She traversed away from her signature cheerful palette and dealt jewel tones on a luxe spectrum. We did get to see her sheer net/organza capes (maybe one too many) but the holistic impact of this collection was intricate and intriguing.Â Key trend: short, baggy, nineties-style tunics on shararas.
Label: Bank Al Falah Rising Talent Show featuring Maheen Taseer, Hamza Bokhari (Jeem), Zarmisha Dar and Faiza Saqlain
The only promising capsule, with potential to actually rise further was Jeem by Hamza Bokhari. His Babushka Dolls were innovative and showed the designerâ€™s capacity to think out of the box. The jewellery was edgy and eye catching and while Hamza still has to work on his signature, it appears he is in the right direction.
Label: Republic by Omar Farooq and Sana Omar
There are only a handful of menswear designers in the country who stay committed to their forte â€“ namely Amir Adnan, Ismail Farid and Ahmed Bham â€“ while most of them, like Omar Farooq, feel the need and desire to dabble into the more lucrative market for ladiesâ€™ wedding wear. I do wish he hadnâ€™t. This debut collection, created with (or by) his wife, Sana, was a disappointing take on everything we have seen before, from pastels, pouffed drapes, crystals etc. it was one big deja vu.Â Key trend: none
Label: Elan by Khadija Shah
Collection: The Jasmine Court
Returning to the PLBW pavilion after sitting it out last year, Khadija Shah reminded us why she was so desperately missed. This was undoubtedly her best collection to date, one that crafted designs for men, women and children with equal measures of finesse. Complemented by a spectacular display of jewels by Sherezad Rahimtoola, Khadijaâ€™s Jasmine Court was an aptly regal collection. My only critique, if any, would be the weight of some of the garments, which appeared too heavy for the (lighter) models to carry but then I was told (rather corrected) that these were not Elanâ€™s heaviest and brides today ask for more. Nevertheless, this collection was absolutely divine.Â Key trend: I personally loved the shorter shirts and dhoti shalwars that made a brief appearance.
Photography by Faisal Farooqu at Dragonfly